The Color of Water

The Color of Water

by Dong Hwa Kim
     
 

When Ehwa goes to the town festival, she meets a handsome young wrestler named Duksam who's eager to catch her eye. After he wins the festival wrestling championship, he and Ehwa begin to meet, sneaking spare moments to be together. But a shadow falls on their romance when Master Cho sends Duksam away and asks for Ehwa's hand in marriage himself It is then that

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Overview

When Ehwa goes to the town festival, she meets a handsome young wrestler named Duksam who's eager to catch her eye. After he wins the festival wrestling championship, he and Ehwa begin to meet, sneaking spare moments to be together. But a shadow falls on their romance when Master Cho sends Duksam away and asks for Ehwa's hand in marriage himself It is then that Ehwa discovers the pain of heartbreak - and that love is always complicated.

In the tradition of My Antonia and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, from the pen of the renowned Korean manwha creator Kim Dong Hwa, comes a trilogy about a girl coming of age, set in the vibrant, beautiful landscape of pastoral Korea.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Michael Jung
Korean artist Kim Dong Hwa continues the tale of sexual awakening he began in The Color of Earth with The Color of Water as he follows Ehwa, a young Korean girl making the transition from girl to woman. Now sixteen, Ehwa starts developing feelings for Duksam, a strong and handsome farmhand, even as her bond with her widowed mother changes—partly due to her mother's own relationship with a traveling salesman. Ehwa's sex education also enters new areas as her friend Bongsoon introduces her to masturbation and sexual myths. But when Ehwa tries to visit Duksam at his farm, she unwittingly attracts the attentions of Duksam's perverted master who tries making Ehwa his wife. As Ehwa's mother tries to protect her daughter, Ehwa makes her own decision about her future with Duksam. Those who read The Color of Earth will find Hwa tones down the cartoonishly silly expressions he gave Ehwa and her friends in The Color of Water (possibly since Ehwa is maturing). Hwa's photorealistic depictions of rural Korea remain, however, and perfectly complement the story's poetic tone. Some Western audiences may find the leisurely pace of this Korean graphic novel (or manhwa) slow compared to the breakneck-speed cartoons they are used to, while others may be put off by the book's open (although not graphic) depictions of copulating dogs and masturbation. For those who remain open to different types of graphic novel storytelling, however, The Color of Water is a nice addition to a multicultural library—although it is definitely a comic for older readers. Reviewer: Michael Jung
VOYA - Amy Luedtke
In this second installment of the Color Trilogy, teenaged Ehwa learns more about the thrills and the pains of love when she falls for Duksam, a brash and handsome young wrestler. Ehwa lives alone with her young widowed mother, Namwon, in a rural Korean village in the late nineteenth century. As Ehwa pines for Duksam and longs for their secret meetings, her mother waits for visits from her lover, a traveling salesman. Ehwa and Namwon's bond is the core of the book, as they navigate their changing mother/daughter relationship. Although Namwon does not know of Ehwa's feelings for Duksam, she realizes that Ehwa will soon be ready to marry and considers what her life will be like when Ehwa is gone. Ehwa and Duksam's dreams are threatened when Duksam's elderly master, Cho, finds out about Ehwa. Obsessed with Ehwa's youth and beauty, Master Cho is determined to marry Ehwa himself. Like the first book of this manhwa trilogy, this sequel should appeal to any reader looking for a poetic coming-of-age story or adventurous manga fans. Ehwa's physical and emotional growth is evocatively compared to her natural surroundings. Hwa's expressive artwork and lyrical writing sensitively yet realistically explore romance and sexuality, including Ehwa's first kiss and her first masturbation experience. Humor also pervades the story, especially when Ehwa learns about sex from her more experienced friend Bongsoon. Reviewer: Amy Luedtke
Library Journal
Highly regarded in Korea, where his "Color" trilogy was first serialized in 1992, Kim has cross-cultural appeal. In this lyrical coming-of-age manhwa set a century ago in rural Korea, young Ehwa grows up under the fond eye of her widowed tavern-keeper mother. The increasingly pretty girl attracts the randy village boys, but she is drawn to less attainable and more sensitive lads: a local apprentice monk, a farmer's son schooled elsewhere, and a handsome worker from a different village. Intercut with Ehwa's tentative steps toward love is her mother's intermittent and achingly sweet liaison with a traveling painter, helping to deepen their complex mother-daughter relationship. Although the art, plot, and dialog have poetic beauty and charm, Kim still incorporates earthy and disturbing elements: male customers verbally harass Ehwa's mother, while Ehwa shows her distaste for her girlfriend's sexual explorations. VERDICT Kim's elegant trilogy will have strong appeal for its literary quality and offers key historical and cultural information, with a reading group guide included in the last two volumes. Sexual content and nudity, presented discreetly. For older teens and up.—M.C.
School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up–In this installment in the trilogy set in 19th-century Korea, Ehwa falls in love with a strong young man named Duksam, while her mother continues her affair with a traveling salesman. This is a quiet and intimate story about a girl’s first sexual awakenings as well as the changing nature of her relationship with her mother during her adolescence. The language and concepts are poetic–Ehwa’s mother teaches her that women are like flowers while men are like fire and wind. While Hwa’s artwork predominantly conveys a lot of emotion with very few carefully placed lines, there are some larger scenes of natural beauty (flowers, trees, the night sky) that are breathtaking in their detail. A Korean village is a far cry from the environment of most American teens, but the romantic themes will keep even modern girls pining for more of this story. It is not necessary to have read The Color of Earth (Roaring Brook, 2009) to understand this volume, but since readers will probably be curious to learn about Ehwa’s first two loves and about what will happen with Duksam in the future, ordering the trilogy is a sound investment.–Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Lackluster middle ground in a coming-of-age trilogy from the renowned Korean manga artist. The author continues his exploration of a teenage village girl's sexual and emotional awakening and the pastoral landscape that nurtures it. Ehwa, in the throes of adolescent hormones, has seen two childhood crushes evaporate with age and distance. But an unexpected encounter with a handsome stranger at the summer festival changes everything. The older, muscular Duksam not only wins the wrestling contest but Ehwa's attentions as well-setting off an adolescent frenzy of lust and longing that Hwa captures in grinding detail. Ehwa spends too much time moisturizing her skin and trading stale nature metaphors with her mother, prolonging the book's lagging narrative. The masterful landscapes take a backseat to human activity. They're skillfully rendered but not nearly as eye-popping as the stark and haunting pastoral scenes that heightened volume one, The Color of Earth (2009). The narrative does manage to convey the relentless tedium of waiting for life to happen: Like Ehwa, readers will be painfully anxious for something to happen by the book's end. (Graphic fiction. 14 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781596434592
Publisher:
First Second
Publication date:
06/09/2009
Series:
Color of Earth Series, #2
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
GN650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
15 - 17 Years

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